Kinlochshiel have been dealt a blow with the news that defender Mark MacDonald will miss the 2024 season.
Shiel manager Willie MacRae said: “Mark is taking a year out. He’s changed jobs recently meaning he’s away from home all week and so playing shinty on a Saturday would eat into his family time.
“Training would be an issue too and Mark is a 100% guy and would need to be all-in to be involved. I understand his reasons and he takes a break with our blessing.
“Oliver MacRae won’t be available either. It’s a big year for Ollie as he’s getting married and he is also self-employed stonemason and ended up missing the latter part of last season with a nasty hand injury.
“That means there will be spaces for some of the younger boys to break through and that’s never a bad thing.”
Clark to lead Oban
Kingussie and Oban Camanachd claimed all shinty’s major trophies between them last season and both clubs have named their captains for the year ahead.
Last season’s top scorer Malcolm Clark will captain Oban Camanachd and his manager Gareth Evans said: “Malcolm has been involved with the first team for a long time now. In fact, I remember that he started playing for Oban Camanachd when I was still playing and that wasn’t yesterday.
“He has definitely matured as a player over the last two years, and he was our top scorer last season and one of our “go to” guys in big games. He represents the club well and is an example to his young teammates.
“Malcolm has a young family and his own business, so he has a lot to fit in. However, he has a very understanding partner in Hollie, and she’s always there to support both Malcolm and the club.”
Clark said: “I feel as a club, overall, we are in a good place. We’ll certainly be aiming to build on last season’s success and try and deliver more silverware for the club and the town.
“I believe that if we can improve our home league form, then we’ll be in and around the top end of the table come the business end of the season.”
Scotland under-21 cap Calum Grant will be Kingussie’s on-field leader.
Boss Iain Borthwick said: “In many ways, Calum was the obvious choice. The only complication surrounded whether he had to return to Australia through his work as he did last year.
“That would have been a problem. I had a sit-down with Calum though, and I was absolutely delighted when I heard news of his job change which means he’ll work in the UK this year.”
The talented defender takes over captaincy duties at a difficult period for the Kingussie squad following the passing of wing centre Calum Mackintosh.
The squad will wear especially embossed shirts next season with a newly designed emblem on the sleeve to remember their teammate and friend.
Calum Grant said: “There is no doubt it has been a very hard few months for everyone associated with the club.
“However, looking ahead, the tragic passing of Cal has brought us all closer as a team, and we are determined to build on the success of last season with the memory of Cal pushing us on in every game.”
Meanwhile, Kingussie wing centre Cameron Bremner has suffered a broken metatarsal at training.
Iain Borthwick said: “Cammy’s been told not to do any running for four weeks although he can still do bike work.
“He’s limited for preseason so he might be a bit behind the others but at least we will have him back around the start of the new season.”
There are a small number of preseason friendlies scheduled for Saturday although Fort William’s meeting with Oban Camanachd at An Aird has already fallen foul of the wet weather.